Kerning From the Best is an article series where I’m having quick chats with remote designers from around the world to learn more about what makes them tick.
This month I’m featuring Chlo, a French designer based in Taipei,Taiwan. Chlo has worked as a freelance remote designer for 5 years, and wouldn’t change it for the world.
What does a typical morning look like for you?
I wake up usually around 7–8am and I start the day doing yoga. Nothing crazy, depending on my schedule it can be 15min or 1 hour, but it’s a good way to remind myself my mental health is my top priority in the end, because I’m sensitive to stress.
Then I do breakfast and drink my morning coffee, and I start to work around 9am usually.
I work mostly with teams from the US & Europe, so mornings are for long focus tasks, and afternoons/evenings for meetings. I organize my days depending on the client’s timezones & needs.
Sometimes it’s 9am-1pm design, 4pm-8pm team work (including conference calls, but also design team discussions and tests on Slack).
Sometimes there is a meeting at midnight, but I try to not make this happen very often though!
How did you arrive here?
I started web design as a teenager, playing with CSS for custom blog themes, and then with basic HTML.
After high school graduation, like many people I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do for a living all my life (big commitment), so I decided to find something related to what I like to do the most: drawing & being in front of my computer.
That led me to a Visual Communication tech degree. After that, I needed to work but wanted to pursue school, so I went for a Bachelor in Project Management in apprenticeship and I did the same for a Master’s Degree. I was studying the “strategic” aspect of web design and I was designing on a daily basis at work, so I learned the theory & practice at the same time.
I worked for two years at a big company, two years for an agency, and then I went freelance. It’s been almost 5 years now and so far it suits me very well.
I had the chance to work with a wide range of projects and clients, and it allows me to schedule some time to work on others things on the side.
What do you find yourself having to repeatedly convince others of?
That a good user experience isn’t something that comes magically out of the mind of a single person after one round of wireframes.
It takes time - testing and adjusting are part of the design process. It’s also a team effort.
A good user experience is the result of a wide range of expertise with all efforts converging for the same goal.
Do you have a mantra?
“If you don’t fail, you don’t learn.”
It’s not exactly my personal mantra, but it’s something I try to remind myself.
When it comes to User Experience, it’s particularly true.
Where do you want to go?
I like to be a freelancer because it’s the best way for me to organize my schedule as I want.
I think work is a very important part of my life, but so are my personal projects. I need to do different stuff from my work.
Sometimes it’s iOS applications with my significant other (who happens to be an iOS developer), sometimes it’s art projects, or cooking, or podcasts. It really depends, I like to try different stuff.
Freelancing and being super organized allow me this balance.
I learned a lot about people in other fields, and as a User Experience designer, it improved my empathy and my general knowledge on people’s habits and expectations.
I guess I want to achieve “balance” in my life, and it’s a thing that you have to work on everyday.
Who do you look up to?
I look up to people who are giving their time for others, the volunteers. It’s kinda cliché, but it’s true, and it’s definitely something I want to do in the future, I always wanted to but didn’t set up time for yet.
What’s your remote setup?
I have a Macbook Pro 15” and I’m using the trackpad. It’s extremely convenient, I can work from pretty much everywhere.
I also use an iPad with Pencil for initial wireframes & ideation sketching with the app Paper.
And headphones for conference calls.
Also, my desk is in front of a window, so I like to watch the sunset everyday.
Thank you for following this new series. As always, I’m curious to hear your feedback.
As well as this, if you’re a remote worker, get in touch; it’d be great to feature as many varied designers as possible
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A selection of our other interviews:
P.s. we’ve teamed up with DesignLab to offer out their courses to 8px readers. Want to learn UX from some of the industry masters? They offer both short and long courses, where you’re teamed up with mentors from Github, Dropbox and the BBC.